New Year’s Eve Worship Service 

Meditation Upon Entering Church               

Another year is dawning——a path unknown, untried.
‘T’would fill me with foreboding, had I no hand to guide;
But He who walked beside me, all through this closing year,
Whatever might befall me – has promised to be near.

Another year with Jesus!  There’s no fear that I know;
His love is ever-precious, how ‘er the winds might blow.
E’en when the storm is fiercest, His help He won’t deny,
He’ll grant me peace and comfort – on Him I can rely.

Another year to trust Him——yes I will trust Him still,
My Shepherd’s never failed me——I know He never will.
His rod and staff He gives me, to be my strength and stay,
And tenderly He leads me along my homeward way.     Amen.


Welcome To Grace Lutheran Church

Grace Lutheran congregation is very pleased to have the opportunity to share with you the blessings of our Christ-centered ministry this morning.    We welcome you in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.   To family and friends who know us, we renew our welcome, and to our first-time guests we extend it most sincerely.    It is our goal today to focus our attention on the record of God’s gracious accomplishments that have secured for us our eternal destiny with Him.  May the certainty of His mercy help to brighten the year ahead and to supply you with resolve for living in 2024 and beyond as God’s child and as an heir of everlasting life.




Facing the Passage of Time with Faith


                  The month of January on the calendar was named for the Roman (false) god, Janus. He was known as the “gate god.” And an image of him was placed at the entrance gate of each city in the Roman Empire. The reason Janus received such honor was because the Romans believed he had two faces. To them, this meant that he could see in two directions at the same time – into the past as well as forward into the future.   Roman false beliefs notwithstanding, this morning, we certainly want to look in both directions – properly appreciating our past as well as looking toward the future with confidence….. knowing that the same God Who has guided (and blessed) all of our yesterdays will also be with us in all of our tomorrows.  In addition, this morning we’ll also want to give thanks to God for our present circumstances, since He uses them to determine our future as well.

            As this year 2023 closes (and with a new year about to begin) it’s appropriate for us this morning to reflect upon all that our Lord has allowed to transpire in our lives during the past year, as well as to resolve – with His help and blessing – to move forward, faithfully and fearlessly into 2024.

            The story is told that, at the beginning of a new year, a high school principal decided to post his teachers’ new year’s resolutions on the faculty room bulletin board. As the teachers gathered around the bulletin board, a great commotion started. One of the teachers began complaining. “Why weren’t my resolutions posted?” She was throwing such a temper tantrum that the principal hurried to his office to see if he had overlooked her resolutions. Sure enough, he had mislaid them on his desk.   As he read her resolutions he was astounded, amused and annoyed all at the same time……because his tantrum-throwing teacher’s first resolution was not to let little things upset her in the New Year.
            What resolutions have you made for the new year fast approaching?   New Year’s time is customarily filled with resolutions and promises of what we are going to do or not going do.    Unfortunately, more often than not these end up being “I” things –  and for the Christian that is not the way it ought to work.    It’s not what “I” want or intend to do, but what God wants from me and for me, and is able to work within me through His Spirit.  You and I have the opportunity to talk about our personal desires and priorities, versus God’s goals and planned blessings for us through this morning’s sermon.   It’ll be based on the words that God gave Moses in Psalm 90.  Interestingly (at least to me), is that we know Moses wrote the Bible’s first five books.  It’s entirely possible that He wrote this Psalm before them….which could well make it the oldest portion of Scripture.   Today we’ll use it to reflect on how we’re finishing 2023 under God’s grace, undeserving sinners though we are.  And we’ll consider how we can be confident as we enter another chapter of our lives, 2024, because the same God Who has been with us throughout our lives, will be with us this year too, blessing us until we receive faith’s ultimate blessing: eternal life in heaven with Him.


Today’s Worship Service


            We’ve gathered here on this New Year’s Eve 2023 to praise our Lord, regardless of the kinds of  “ups” and “downs” we’ve experienced during this past year.   That’s because – in the final analysis – whatever we’ve gone through in our past, and whatever we’ll encounter in our future all comes to us through His grace and according to His benevolent plan for our lives and our souls.  No matter what our future holds for us from an earthly perspective – good or bad, and regardless of how short or long our earthly future is – we have and want to grow in the confidence that our Lord loves us with an everlasting love in Christ, and that His will for our lives is always best and will always bring us the greatest temporal and eternal blessings.    Believing this can sustain us while we live out our future for Him in this sinful world (just as we’ve survived and served Him to this point), waiting for the day when our Lord will take us to that perfect home in heaven that will be ours eternally, for Jesus’ sake.

            This morning, as you join me in reflecting upon all that God has led us through this past year, we can each feel a certain sense of gratitude over the Lord’s many blessings, given to us during this past year; as well as a sense of anticipation over the blessings and challenges that lie ahead of us in the year to come.    No doubt we’re also affected today by a spirit of sorrow and repentance over against our personal sins and short-comings committed during 2023.   And it’s my prayer that all of us have come here also with confidence in God’s love and in His promises to forgive us for all our past sins, plus a spirit of commitment – as the Holy Spirit enables us – to improve our living for the Lord and our service to Him during 2024.  

            No matter what you may be feeling this morning, amid all of the different situations, as well as the changing moods associated with this period of time’s transition from one year to the next, one thing remains constant and changeless:   the abiding presence and continuing love of your Savior, Jesus Christ.   And from this precious truth we draw great comfort and confidence this morning:  that Jesus is not only right now the same steadfast Savior He’s always been, but also that He will continue to be the same Savior for us (who always loves us and who faithfully forgives us), forever and ever.

            As you examine this worship flyer please note that our Scripture readings for this New Year’s Eve have been chosen because all of them – in one way or another – deal with the topic  of “Time.”   We’ll be reminded that – although He is not bound by it – our God has created “time” for us….hours, days, seasons, years….so that we can use it to engage in earthly activities and purposes.   Because we are sinners, God also graciously gives us time in order to recognize and repent of our many sins….that we might know His assurance of forgiveness in Christ.    As Time passes, Scripture also teaches us to reflect upon our own mortality and the reality of eternity.     We’ll recognize that Time is especially a gift of God’s grace, to be used to come to know and believe in Christ as our Savior.  We also recognize with every passing year the immanence of Christ’s return and the believer’s goal of life everlasting in heaven. 



The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,    The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831



Pre-service prayer                                                                                                                                              

Pre-worship music


We Praise Our God


The Introduction and Invitation to Worship


At the Pastor’s invitation, the Congregation will rise for



The Invocation           We begin this service in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen 


The Opening Prayer


O God our Creator and Heavenly Father,   +    You have divided our lives into days and seasons,   +   and called us to acknowledge Your providence year after year:   +    Bless us as Your people   +   who come to offer You our praises on this New Year’s Eve 2023,   + for all Your blessings in this year drawing to a close.   +   In Your mercy,   +    receive and grant all our prayers +    guarding and guiding us throughout the year about to begin   +   according to Your Holy will,   +    through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,   +    Who – along with You and the Holy Spirit –   +    lives and rules as the One True God   +    forever and ever.   Amen.



The Responsive Psalm for Today                                                                                                      Psalm 90


P:         Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all


C:         Before the mountains were born, before You gave birth to the         earth and the world,   +   from eternity to eternity  You are God.


P:         You grind people to dust, and You say, “Return, children of Adam!”

C:         For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day, like yesterday    that has gone by, or like a watch in the night.


P:         You sweep them away like a flood.   They are like sleep in the morning, like grass which changes quickly.

C:         In the morning it sprouts and grows. +    By evening it is cut down and it withers.

P:         Surely, we are consumed by Your anger, and by Your wrath we are terrified.

C:         You have laid out our guilty deeds in front of you.   +   Our hidden sins are revealed in front of You.   +   For all our days pass away under Your fury;   +   we finish our years with a sigh.


P:         The days of our lives add up to seventy years, or eighty years if     we are strong.

C:         Yet the best of them are trouble and sorrow, for the disappear        quickly, and we fly away.


P:         Who can understand the power of Your anger?   But Your fury is consistent with the fear that is owed to You.

C:         Teach us to number our days in such a way   + that we bring a       heart of wisdom.


P:         Turn, O LORD!   How long!    Change Your mind toward Your servants.    Satisfy us in the morning with Your mercy, so that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

C:         Make us glad for as many days as You have afflicted us,   + for as many years as we have seen trouble.


P:         Let Your deeds be seen by Your servants and Your majesty by their children.

C:         May the kindness of the Lord our God rest upon us.   +        Establish the work of our hands for us –  +  yes, establish the work of our hands!   


After which the Congregation will be seated


Opening Hymn                                                                                                    Hymn 441   “O God, Our Help In Ages Past”


1 O God, our help in ages past,  Our hope for years to come,

Our shelter from the stormy blast,   And our eternal home,


2 Under the shadow of your throne   Your saints have dwelt secure;

Sufficient is your arm alone,   And our defense is sure.


3 Before the hills in order stood   Or earth received its frame,

From everlasting you are God,   To endless years the same.


4 A thousand ages in your sight   Are like an evening gone,

Short as the watch that ends the night   Before the rising sun.


5 Time, like an ever-rolling stream,   Soon bears us all away;

We fly, forgotten, as a dream   Dies at the op’ning day.


6 O God, our help in ages past,   Our hope for years to come,

Still be our guard while troubles last  And our eternal home!



Following this, the Congregation will rise as


We Join in the Confession of Our Sins



  • Almighty God, Heavenly Father, we have violated Your holy will through our sinful actions, in our failure to do what You righteously expect from us, with our wicked words, and by our evil thoughts and desires.



  • We come, O Lord, to Your altar to confess our sins. +   We beg for Your mercy, + though we do not deserve it.   +   Hear our prayer.    + And please grant us the forgiveness of all our sins, for Jesus’ sake.


                                                                                                   Excerpted, with modifications, from Daniel 9


O Lord, my great and awesome God, +   my merciful Father in heaven, +   Who keeps His covenant of love with all who love Him and obey His commands,   +    I confess that I have sinned and done wrong.    +    I have been wicked and have rebelled against You.   +    I have turned away from Your commands and laws.   +    I have not listened to Your Holy Word faithfully.


Lord, You alone are righteous, +    while I am covered with shame because of my unfaithfulness to You.   +     Indeed, at times I have refused to obey You, +    and have repeatedly done wrong in my thoughts, words, and actions.


O Lord, in keeping with all Your righteous acts,   +    I plead with You to turn away from me Your anger and Your wrath.    +    O gracious God, hear this humble petition of Your servant.   +    Look with favor upon me and be gracious to me, an undeserving sinner.    +     O Lord, listen!    +    O Lord, forgive me all my sins!    +    O Lord, hear and act!     +     I do not make this request of You because I am righteous,   +    but because of Your great mercy,   +   and for the sake of the perfect life, +    and the innocent sufferings and death of Your Son,   +   my Savior, Jesus Christ, +    in Whose name I pray.    +     Amen.



The Absolution


Pastor: Upon this, your voluntary confession, and according to the command and promise of our Savior, Jesus Christ,  and in His place, I now forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the

 Son, and of the Holy Spirit.    Amen.   Be at peace once more with your God, assured that you are a dear child of God and an heir of eternal life in heaven through faith in Christ Jesus.


Congregation:             O Lord, my God    +   I called to You for help   +   and You answered me.   +   I thank You for the love You have shown me  in Jesus Christ, my Savior.    +   Through Him You have rescued

 me from the guilt and curse of my sin.   +  Renew me now, and every day,  through Your Holy Spirit    +   that I might faithfully fight against all temptation,   +   correct whatever wrongs I can,   +   and live in the peace of Your forgiveness.   +    Let my life be filled with Your love and praise.   +   Now and forever.   +    Amen.



Our Grateful Response for God’s Forgiveness

To the tune of “Come You Thankful People, Come”  meter:    7777D


Blessed Holy Trinity,   Glorious in Your majesty,

Father, Spirit and the Son –   Savior-God, the Three-in-One –

From sin’s curse You’ve set me free   Heaven’s mine – eternally.

All I am, to You I owe,   Source from Whom all blessings flow.  Amen.



We Hear God’s Word


Time Was Established by God and He Has Given This Gift

to Us to Use in Our Earthly Activities and Purposes                                                             Genesis 1:14-19


14 God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to divide the day from the night, and let them serve as markers to indicate seasons, days, and years. 15 Let them serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to give light to the earth,” and it was so. 16 God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set these lights in place in the expanse of the sky to provide light for the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening and there was morning—the fourth day.


                                                                                                                                              Ecclesiastes 3:1-14


For everything there is an appointed time.

There is an appropriate time for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to give birth and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot plants,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones,

a time to embrace and a time not to embrace,

6 a time to search and a time to stop searching,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to rip and a time to sew,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.


9 What does the worker gain from his hard work? 10 I have seen the task which God has given the children of Adam to keep them busy. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Yes, He has also put eternity in their hearts, yet it is not possible for man to understand the work that God has done from beginning to end.


12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy good things while they live. 13 Also, when anyone eats, drinks, and experiences the good things that his hard work leads to—this is God’s gift.


14 I know that everything God does will last forever. Nothing can be added to it or taken away from it. God acts so that people will fear Him.



Prayer: In Your wisdom, O Lord our God,   +   You have made all things,   +   and have allotted to each of us

                        the days of our lives:   +    Grant that we might live each day faithfully in Your presence,   +   guided by Your Holy Spirit,   +   offering all our works, words and thoughts for Your honor and glory;  +   through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



The Second Hymn                   Hymn 243    “Oh, Worship The King”

                                                                                                                                                     Verses 1, 3 & 5


1 Oh, worship the King, all-glorious above;   Oh gratefully sing his pow’r and his love,

Our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,   Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.


3 This earth, with its store of wonders untold, Almighty, your pow’r has founded of old,

Established it fast by a changeless decree,   And round it has cast, like a mantle, the sea.


5 Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, In you do we trust nor find you to fail.

Your mercies, how tender, how firm to the end, Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!



God Gives Us Time To Repent Of Our Sins                                                                                        Psalm 32


1 How blessed is the person,  whose rebellion is forgiven,  whose sin is covered.   2 How blessed is the person whose guilt the Lord does not charge against him,  in whose spirit there is no deceit. 


3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away as I groaned all day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy on me.  My moisture was dried up by the droughts of summer.  5 I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover up my guilt.  I said, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord,”  and You forgave the guilt of my sin.  6 Because of this, let everyone who receives favor pray to You at a time when You may be found.   Surely when the mighty waters overflow,  they will not reach him.


7 You are my hiding place.   You will protect me from distress.   You will surround me with shouts of deliverance.    8 I will make you wise. I will instruct you in the way that you should go.  I will guide you, keeping my eye on you.  9 Do not be like a horse or a mule, which has no understanding.  Its mouth must be controlled by a bit and bridle,

or else it will not come to you.  


10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but mercy will surround those who trust in the Lord.   11 Rejoice in the Lord and celebrate, all you righteous, and shout joyfully, all you upright in heart.

Prayer               Immortal Lord God, You inhabit eternity,   +   and have brought us Your unworthy servants to the close of another  year: +    Pardon, we beg You, for Jesus’ sake   +   all our past transgressions     both

 those known and unknown to us  +   and through Your Spirit abide with us all the days of our lives   +   until You graciously take us from this sinful world   +   to be with You forever in heaven.   +   We offer this prayer in the name   + and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Savior, +   Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit,   + as the One, True God,   + now and forever.   Amen.


The Third Hymn                                                                    Hymn 306   “Before You, God, the Judge of All”

                                                                                                                                                          verses 1 & 3


1 Before you, God, the Judge of all,   With grief and shame I humbly fall.

I see my sins against you, Lord,   My sins of thought and deed and word.

They press me sore; to you I flee:   O God, be merciful to me!


3 O Jesus, let your precious blood   Be to my soul a cleansing flood.

Turn not, O Lord, your guest away,   But grant that justified I may

Go to my house at peace to be:   O God, be merciful to me!



God Also Gives us Time To Consider

Our Mortality and the Reality of Eternity                                                                          Ecclesiastes 12:1-7


So remember your Creator in the days of your youth,  before the bad days come and the years arrive when you will say,  “I have no delight in them,”   2 before the sun and the light of the moon and the stars are darkened, before the clouds return after the rain,  3 before the day when the watchmen of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent over, and the women who grind grain cease because they are few, and those watching through the windows can barely see. 4 Then the double doors to the street are shut, as the grinding of the mill grows quiet.  A person wakes up at the sound of a bird, but all the sounds of music are muffled.   5 Then they fear heights and terrors along the road.  The almond blossoms become white.  The grasshopper drags himself along,

and the caperberry has no effect.   Why? Because the man is heading to his eternal home.   Then the wailing mourners will go around in the street.   6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is snapped,

and the golden bowl is broken, before the jar is shattered by the spring,    and the waterwheel is broken by the well,   7 and the dust goes back into the ground—just as it was before, and the spirit goes back to God Who gave it.



Prayer             In Your wisdom, O Lord God, our Heavenly Father,   +   You have made all things, and have allotted to each of us the days of our lives: +     Deliver us from all falsehood, malice, and disobedience;  +  

 turn our feet onto Your righteous paths;     +   and grant that we might serve you gratefully and faithfully all our days,   +   guided by Your Holy Spirit,   +   offering all our works, words and thoughts to Your honor and glory.    +    We ask this in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,   +   Who lives and rules along with You and the Holy Spirit,   +   as the One true God,   +   now and forever.   +   Amen.



The Fourth Hymn                                                                  Hymn 439   “Lord, Take My Had and Lead Me”


  1. Lord, take my hand and lead me Upon life’s way;

Direct, protect, and feed me   From day to day.

Without your grace and favor   I go astray:

So take my hands, O Savior,   And lead the way.


  1. Lord, when the tempest rages, I need not fear;

For you, the Rock of Ages,    Are always near.

Close by your side abiding,   I fear no foe,

For when your hand is guiding,   In peace I go.

  1. Lord, when the shadows lengthen And nigh has come,

I know that you will strengthen   My steps toward home,

And nothing can impede me,   O Blessed Friend!

So, take my hand and lead me   Unto the end.



Life on Earth is Especially a Time of Grace for us

to Know and Believe in Christ, our Savior                                                                   II Corinthians 5:14-6:2


14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we came to this conclusion: One died for all; therefore, all died. 15 And He died for all, so that those who live would no longer live for themselves but for Him, Who died in their place and was raised again.


16 As a result, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we knew Christ according to the flesh, we no longer know Him that way. 17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. The new has come!    18 And all these things are from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 That is, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them. And He has entrusted to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, inasmuch as God is making an appeal through us. We urge you, on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made Him, Who did not know sin, to become sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.     6:1   As fellow workers we also urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For He says:  At a favorable time I listened to you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.   Look, now is the favorable time! See, now is the day of salvation!



Prayer              Almighty Father, You have given us the sun as a light by day,   +   and the moon and the stars by night:   +  Graciously bless   today and always, with Your divine favor and protection,   +   defending

 us from all harm and guiding us through Your Holy Spirit,   +   so that every shadow of ignorance,   +   every failure of faith or weakness of heart,   +   every evil or wrong desire might be removed far from us;    +   in order that we,   +   having been justified in our Lord Jesus Christ,   +   might be sanctified by your Spirit,    +   and glorified according to Your infinite mercy   +   on the day of the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.   +   In His name we pray.   +   Amen.



The Fifth Hymn                                                                             Hymn 393   “If Your Beloved Son, O God”

verses 1, 3 & 5


1 If your beloved Son, O God,   Had not to earth descended

And in our mortal flesh and blood   Had not sin’s power ended,

Then this poor, wretched soul of mine   In hell eternally would pine

Because of my transgression.  


3 I trust in him with all my heart;  Now all my sorrow ceases.

His words abiding peace impart;   His blood from guilt releases.

Free grace through him I now obtain;   He washes me from ev’ry stain,

And pure I stand before him.


5 My guilt, O Father, you have laid   On Christ, your Son, my Savior.

Lord Jesus, you my debt have paid   And gained for me God’s favor.

O Holy Spirit, Fount of grace,   The good in me to you I trace;

In faith and hope preserve me.


We Look Forward to Day of Jesus’ Return

and to Life Everlasting in Heaven                                                                               I Thessalonians 4:13-18


13 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep,  so that you do not grieve in the same way as the others, who have no hope. 14 Indeed, if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, then in the same way we also believe that God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.   15 In fact, we tell you this by the word of the Lord: We who are alive and left until the coming of the Lord will certainly not go on ahead of those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them, to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore, encourage one another with these words.


                                                                                                                                   Revelation 21:1-14; 22-27


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And the sea no longer existed. 2 And I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  3 And from the throne I heard a loud voice that said, “Look! God’s dwelling is with people. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them, and He will be their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain, because the former things have passed away.”


5 The One Who was seated on the throne said to me, “Look, I am making everything new!” He also said, “Write, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And He said to me:  It is done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.   To anyone who is thirsty, I will give freely from the spring of the water of life.   7 The one who overcomes  will inherit these things.   I will be his God,  and he will be My son.   8 But those who are cowardly, unbelieving, detestable,     murderers, adulterers, sorcerers, idolaters, and all the liars will have their share in the lake burning with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.  


9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls that were filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me. He said, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”    10 He carried me away in spirit to a great and high mountain, and he showed me the   Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It has the glory of God. Its radiance is similar to a very precious stone, like crystal-clear jasper.   12 It has a large, high wall. It has twelve gates. Twelve angels are at the gates, and twelve names are engraved on the gates, the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13 Three gates are on the east, three on the north, three on the south, and three on the west. 14 The city’s wall also has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the Lamb’s twelve apostles.


…..22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God has given it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 There is no day when its gates will be shut, for there will be no night in that place. 26 They will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 Nothing that is unclean and no one who does what is detestable or who tells lies will ever enter it, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.



Prayer              O God, our Heavenly Father,   +   through Your dear Son, You have taught us to be watchful,   +   and to await the  sudden day of judgment:    +    Strengthen us through Your Spirit against Satan and his

 forces of wickedness,   +   the evil powers of this world,    +   and the sinful desires within us;   +    and grant that, having served You all the days of our lives,   +    we will finally come into the dwelling place earned and prepared for us by Your Son,   +    our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ,   +   Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit +    as the One, true God,   +   for ever and ever. + Amen.




The Sixth Hymn                                                                     Hymn 207  “The Day Is Surely Drawing Near”

Verses 1, 5 & 6

1 The day is surely drawing near   When God’s Son, the Anointed,

Shall with great majesty appear   As judge of all appointed.

All mirth and laughter then shall cease   When flames on flames will still increase,

As Scripture truly teaches.


5 My Savior paid the debt I owe   And for my sin was smitten;

Within the Book of Life I know   My name has now been written.

I will not doubt, for I am free,   And Satan cannot threaten me;

There is no condemnation!


6 O Jesus Christ, do not delay,   But hasten our salvation;

We often tremble on our way   In fear and tribulation.

Your saints are waiting patiently;   Come soon, Redeemer; make us free

From ev’ry evil. Amen.



Sermon Text                                                                                                                                        Psalm 90


Passing from One Chapter to the Next


The Post-Sermon Blessing


And now, may the peace of God which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and minds through faith in Christ Jesus.  Amen.



We Bring our Offerings and Prayers to the Lord


Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.      However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry: 

1) You can mail a check (no cash) to the church address:    (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can also donate on our website:


  • The Offering


    The Prayer for this New Year’s Eve   and     The Lord’s prayer


    Our Father, Who art in heaven,   Hallowed be Thy name;    Thy Kingdom come;   Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;    Give us this day our daily bread;    And forgive us our trespasses,  as we forgive those who trespass against us;    And lead us not into temptation;  But deliver us from evil;    For Thine is the Kingdom   and the power   and the glory   forever and ever.   Amen.



    Our Self-Examination

    Before Receiving the Lord’s Supper


    Pastor            `Let us next examine ourselves in preparation for receiving the Sacrament of our Lord’s Supper, as

     the inspired Apostle Paul so instructs us in I Corinthians 11,  where he  writes:  “…whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.  A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgement upon himself.”


    Pastor           Accordingly, are you sincerely sorry for your sins and determined, with God’s help, to change your sinful ways?


    Congregation  Yes, I am sorry for my sins and desire to serve Jesus and not a sinful lifestyle.


    Pastor            Do you believe that here in the Lord’s Supper you will receive, along with the bread and wine, the true body and blood of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?


    Congregation Yes, I believe that I will be receiving the true body and blood of my Lord and Savior, which was given into death for my sins.


    Pastor            Are you coming to the Lord’s table as one in the faith with this Christian congregation, as the Scriptures teach?


    Congregation  Yes I have studied the teachings of this congregation concerning God’s Word;  I agree with them;  And am one in faith with them, as the Scriptures command me to be before I come to the Lord’s table with anyone.


    Pastor            Finally, do you recognize your need for forgiveness and do you believe that you will receive through the Lord’s Supper the full and free forgiveness of all your sins?


    Congregation  Yes, I have examined my life, see the need for God’s forgiveness and believe that I will receive complete forgiveness for all my sins, as my Savior has promised.


    Pastor            Having examined yourselves and confessed your sins, come now with confidence and joy to your Lord’s table and receive here, through His body and blood, the guarantee that your sins are all forgiven, and that eternal life and salvation are surely yours.


    The Words of Institution                  Spoken by the Pastor


    Pastor: The peace of the Lord be with you always.   Amen.



    The Distribution of the Sacramental Elements




                At Grace Lutheran Church, we practice what is known as “Close Communion.”   That means we are able to offer the Lord’s Supper this morning only to those individuals who have already committed themselves to be members of our fellowship.  In so doing we are endeavoring to express the comprehensive commitment (and unity which we – as a congregation – share with each other) to all the teachings of God’s Word, and to our striving to put them fully and faithfully into practice in our ministry.  

                That “comprehensive commitment” requirement (which our Lord expects of all His children – please see Romans 16:17-18;   2 John 10-11;   I Corinthians 1:10;   I John 4:1-3;   John 8:31-32;   Matthew 28:19-20 …among other portions of Scripture that express this)  allows us only to offer the Lord’s Supper to those persons who are already committed, confirmed, communicant members of Grace Lutheran congregation, or who have become members of one of the congregations of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.   


                To our Guests this morning,  we appreciate your presence among us and celebrate the faith in Christ which we know we share with you.   Please understand that by asking you to refrain from communing with us this morning we are not judging your faith in Christ.   What we are doing is expressing – as a congregation – our unity of faith in Christ, as well as our comprehensive commitment to all the teachings (doctrines) of God’s Word.   Consequently, we ask that you will kindly respect our close communion practice and refrain from taking the Lord’s Supper with us this morning.  

                A brochure further explaining the Biblical basis for this Close Communion practice is available on the entryway tract/brochure rack.    We encourage you to carefully examine it – especially the Biblical references within it –  and also to speak with our Pastor after the service (at your convenience) so that you might better understand and appreciate our Biblically-based “Close Communion” practice.    It is our hope that you – and many others – will one day share with us in the “close” fellowship we enjoy, by your studying God’s Word with us , by committing yourself to membership in our church family and by joining us in this joint, comprehensive commitment to His Biblical teachings that our Lord wants us to have with each other.


                Thank you for your understanding, your patience, and for your presence here among us this morning.




    following the distribution of the Lord’s Supper the Congregation will rise for


    The Closing Prayer


    Almighty God, to Whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from Whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the power of Your Holy Spirit, that we may love You more completely, praise You more joyously, and serve You more faithfully. These requests we make in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, both now and forever.   Amen. 



    The Benediction


    May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,        

    the love of God, the Father,  

    and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.    Amen.



    The Closing Hymn                                                                                   Hymn 75 “Father Let Me Dedicate”


    1 Father, let me dedicate   All this year to you,

    In whate’er my earthly state,   In whate’er I do.

    Not from sorrow, pain, or care   Freedom dare I claim;

    This alone shall be my prayer:   Glorify your name.


    2 Can a child presume to choose   Where or how to live?

    Can a father’s love refuse   All the best to give?

    More you give me ev’ry day   Than the best can claim;

    Help me trust you that I may   Glorify your name.


    3 If in mercy you prolong   Joys that now are mine,

    If on life serene and fair   Brighter rays may shine,

    Let my glad heart, while it sings,   You in all proclaim

    And, whate’er the future brings,   Glorify your name.


    4 If you have for me a cross   And its shadow come,

    Turning all my gain to loss,   Shrouding heart and home,

    Let me think how your dear Son   To his glory came

    And in deepest woe pray on:   “Glorify your name.”




    A Bible Study and Devotion To Start the New Year


    January 1st is traditionally recognized as the “Eighth Day of Christmas” and so – following the Old Testament custom of circumcising Hebrew boys on the 8th day  – the Christian Church (at least that part which follows the historic Christian “Church Year” calendar….as we do) observes January 1st as “The Day of the Circumcision and Naming of our Lord.”  Because we will not be gathering for public worship here tomorrow morning, and so that we do not entirely “lose” the spiritual significance of January 1st, I’d like to share with you this brief Bible study for New Year’s Day in the hope that you will take it home to use devotionally — whether just personally, or with family and friends – as a means to both build your faith and knowledge, and to “start the new year” off in the best way possible: in study of God’s Word and prayer to our Lord.   (Note….the titles/names that follow are just some of the many names and terms used to describe Jesus.  Likewise, the passages cited in connection with the titles below should not be considered an exhaustive list of their usages.)


    Here are Just Some of the Names given to Jesus  which are found in Scripture


    Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come – Interestingly, the number three is often used in Scripture in connection with the Lord (Isaiah 6:3; Numbers 6:24-6).  We find it being used here in the second part of Revelation 1:8 as an indication both of Christ’s timelessness, expressing the concept that He has always existed, and of His deity as the One, True God.


    Immanuel – A transliteration of the Hebrew, “Immanu-El” which literally means “with us, God.”   Coming from the

     prophesy in Isaiah 7:14, we also find it used to describe Jesus in Matthew 1:23.


    The Alpha and the Omega – (Revelation 1:8)  these are the names of the letters which begin and end the Greek alphabet.    In Revelation 22:13  these words are followed by the explanation, “The First and the Last, The Beginning and the End” and are used to refer to Christ’s eternal character.   As the everlasting, timeless God, He has no beginning and no end, but exists forever.   What a thought for us to ponder as we “mark the passage of time” this New Year’s.   And while we are not eternal, since we each have a beginning somewhere in past time, we will enjoy everlasting life in heaven through faith in Jesus.


    Messiah (Hebrew) / Christ (Greek) – both terms mean “The Anointed One” and indicate that Mary’s (and  God’s) Son was uniquely designated, or set apart from all others, to be the One and Only world’s Redeemer.  “Messiah” and “Christ” are less formal names and more of a “title” for Jesus.   Occasionally He directly acknowledged that He was the Messiah, for example….in His conversation with the Samaritan woman (John 4:25-26).  The use of this title is consistent with the OT-era ancient practice of publicly anointing a king or prophet with oil in order to show that he had been especially selected and set apart for a particular task or role.   We can see Jesus being manifestly set apart as “the Messiah/Christ” for His saving work at the time of His baptism, in Matthew 3:1-17.  We also know that His mission of redemption, for which He had been set apart, was constantly uppermost in His mind throughout His ministry (John 5:36; John 9:4).   Here are some other passages where these titles are used in reference to Jesus:   John 1:41;  Luke 2:11; John 7:26-27, 41-44; Matthew 16:16; Mark 8:29


    Son of God – (Luke 1:35; Matthew 4:3,6;  Mark 1:1;  John 10:33-39)  Though not used nearly as much as the term which follows (“Son of Man”), this title simply and accurately describes Jesus’ divine nature.  While not using this title, the writer to the Hebrews (1:1-4) and Paul in Colossians (2:9-10) both testify to Jesus’ divine nature.   John calls Him “the Son of God” and “the true God” in I John 5:20.  And so we Christians believe that Mary’s Son IS the eternal Son of God.


    Son of Man – an oft-used title which gives us an indication of Christ’s fully human nature.  It is used  over 80 times in the

     NT in reference to Jesus.    Examples include:   Matthew 9:6;  Matthew 16:13; Mark 2:10, 28;   Luke 12:10;   Luke 24:7;   John 3:13;   John 9:35)


    The Root and the Offspring of David – (Revelation 22:16)  A reference to Christ having come from David’s line.  As will be the case with a number of names and titles given to Him, we can see here that Jesus Christ is the Messiah because he fulfilled the prophecies about the One Who was to come.  See also Micah 5:2, indicating that the Christ would come from David’s hometown of Bethlehem.   Similar portions of Scripture refer to Christ’s being an ancestor of David and his father, Jesse.   Some of those references are: Isaiah 11:1’s  Branchfrom the stump of Jesse, and  Jesus’ “family history” (genealogy) from chapter one of Matthew’s Gospel (vv 5-6).


    Son of David – (Matthew 9:27; Matthew 12:23; Mark 9:47) Another title used to describe the direct connection between Jesus and His great forebearer, David, to whom the LORD had promised that a Descendant would one day sit on his throne Who would reign forever over the house of Israel (Psalm 110;  Mark 13:36).  This term is used frequently in the NT in connection with Christ.


    Wonderful Counselor – from Isaiah 9:6, the One Who revealed the truth about God to us, and Who showed us (by earning

     for us) the way to heaven and eternal life.   See also John 14:1-6.


    LORD (Yahweh, in Hebrew) – this title is actually a verb which means “I AM” – whenever you see this word capitalized in the OT it refers to the God of free and faithful grace, and so is a reference to the entire Trinity.   See Exodus 34:5,6.   When Jesus’ disciples called Him “LORD” they were acknowledging that He was (and is) the One True Almighty God, Who is One with the Father and the Spirit in power, authority, and honor.   Jesus used this term “I Am” occasionally (John 8:58, Mark14:62)  to describe Himself, to immediate charges of blasphemy from opponents because He “dared” to make himself equal to God.


    Mighty God – from Isaiah 9:6, an indication of the power and authority that Christ possesses as the almighty, Sovereign Lord of heaven and earth.    Also see Matthew 28:18 and Matthew 19:26, where Christ’s “omnipotence” (all-powerful character) is highlighted.


    The Bright Morning StarFrom Revelation 22:16, this title gives us a glimpse of the brightness, the glory that Christ possesses as the almighty God.  We will personally behold that glory one day with our own eyes (Job 19:27), even as we already see that glory now through the eyes of faith (John 1:14)


    The Holy One of God John 6:69 – Another simple statement about Christ’s character — this title describes the perfection that is inherently His as the righteous, sinless God – a sinlessness which He retained (and on which our salvation depended, so that He might be a perfect atoning sacrifice for our sins – John 1:29) after He took upon Himself our human nature…..see Hebrews 4:15.


    Everlasting Father – from Isaiah 9:6.   See also John 10:30.   Another affirmation of the unity and equality that exist between the 1st and 2nd Persons of the Trinity.  (Those who today claim that Jesus is, in every way, inferior to the Father – such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses – have an obviously difficult time “reinterpreting” or “interpreting away” the very clear indication here that the Father and the Son are one and the same in Their divine essence.)


    Prince of Peace – from Isaiah 9:6.       This is not the typical peace (from warfare or politically between countries) that the world seeks, but the infinitely more needed and spiritually significant peace that now….for Jesus’ sake and because of His reconciling work (II Cor 5:14-21)….exists between our perfect God and sinful mankind.   The angels sang about it in Luke 2:14, and Paul spoke about it in Philippians 4:7.


    Jesus (Jeshua, in Hebrew) – An example is found in Matthew 1:21.  The name means “The Lord Saves” and is used in excess of 1274 times in the New Testament in connection with Christ.   This name, clearly, puts an exclamation point on the principal work which He came to accomplish:   our souls’ salvation.


    Mediator – Paul describes Jesus as “the Mediator between God and men” in I Timothy 2:5.   For us the significance of this name is found in the fact that Jesus continues to serve us now in heaven as our Great High Priest by being our Go-Between/Mediator, pleading for us and insuring that our prayers are heard and favorably answered.   We “confess” this truth every time we offer our prayers “in Jesus’ name.”   (John 16:23)


    Savior – (Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Jude 1:25; Titus 3:6) As with the preceding remarks in connection with the name “Jesus,” this title describes what Christ achieved for us through His perfect substitutionary life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection:   He saved us from the curse of our sins, from eternal death, and from the Devil’s power.  Put more “positively,” He saved us for eternal life in heaven with Him.   This term is used at least 24 times in the New Testament in connection with Jesus.


    Good Shepherd one of the most endearing portraits of Christ found in the Bible.   David first gave us this picture in “the world’s most beloved Psalm,” Psalm 23.    In John 10 (1-6, 11-18, 22-30 ) Jesus speaks at length about Himself as the Good Shepherd, Who not only protects His flock but willingly sacrificially lays down His life for His sheep.     Likewise,  in the parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:1-7) Christ speaks in shepherd’s terms about His work in seeking out and saving those who are spiritually lost.   

    The Gate – often overlooked because it comes at the start of the “Good Shepherd chapter,” this title from John 10:7 declares to us that entrance into heaven comes ONLY through faith in Jesus.  Peter would later affirm this fact in Acts 4:12:  “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name, under heaven, given among men by which we must be saved.”   We can also see Him as “the Gate” in Matthew 7:13-14.


    The Resurrection and the Life  – John 11:25.  Jesus performed three miracles raising others from the dead:  the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17), Jairus’ daughter (Matthew 9:23-26; Luke 9:40-56), and Lazarus (John 11).   In addition, in connection with His Good Friday death, many dead people were raised from their graves (Matthew 27:52-53).   The even greater miracles of resurrection in which Christ was/will be involved occurred when He raised Himself from the grave on Easter morning (John 10:18….but see I Peter 3:18 where the Spirit is also involved in Christ’s resurrection), and will take place when He will call our bodies forth from our graves on the Last Day (I Thessalonians 4:17-18; John 5:28).   For the believer, then, the death of my body is never something to be feared, since my soul will live forever and even my dead body will one day be raised imperishable from my grave.    (I Corinthians 15:20, 50-54)


    Finally, see Philippians 2:6-11, especially verse 11, which tells us that even if many today do not recognize Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Day (of Judgment) will come when everyone will bow down before Him and acknowledge that He is the God of all and the world’s Redeemer. 


    In closing…..aren’t you grateful that God has already given you the faith to believe in Him as your Lord, Savior and Redeemer?